Priest Killers 'Pledge IS Allegiance In Video'

The killers of a French priest have apparently been shown pledging allegiance to Islamic State in a video released by the jihadist group.

The footage shows the pair with an IS sign, as they hold hands and declare their backing for the group's leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi.

Adel Kermiche, 19, and Abdel-Malik Petitjean, 19, stormed a Normandy church during morning mass on Tuesday and slit Father Jacques Hamel's throat at his altar.

The pair, who IS has called its "soldiers", also took three nuns and two churchgoers hostage in the building.

Police later shot dead the two terrorists as they ran from the church shouting "Allahu Akbar".

Petitjean was born in France's Vosges region, near the German border, according to the prosecutor's office.

A file had been opened on him in June for becoming radicalised, a police source told the Reuters news agency.

Security forces in France are under scrutiny after it emerged Kermiche was under house arrest and wearing a tag, having twice tried to travel to Syria.

His tag was turned off for a few hours each morning to allow him to leave home - and it was in this time that Kermiche and Petitjean slit the 86-year-old's throat.

Petitjean was identified by DNA as churches across France held memorial services for the priest.

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said France would bolster the operational reserve of its police force after 2,500 people asked to join up in the days after 84 people died in an IS-inspired attack on Bastille Day.

He also said more of the country's 10,000-strong Operation Sentinel anti-terror forces would be deployed to areas outside Paris following the lorry attack in Nice and the killing in Normandy.

He spoke after former president Nicolas Sarkozy accused Mr Hollande of being "out of touch" and called for detention or electronic tagging of all suspected Islamist militants - even if they have committed no offence.

But Mr Cazeneuve said: "We can't step back from the rule of law to protect the rule of law.

"If we abandon constitutional principles to protect that which we hold most dear - our liberty - we will be giving a victory to the terrorists."

The killing came just two weeks after the Bastille Day attack and is the latest of more than a dozen attacks attributed to Islamic extremists in France over the past two years.

Mr Hollande met France's main religious leaders on Wednesday morning before attending a defence council and a cabinet meeting.

After the talks, Paris Archbishop Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois urged Catholics not to "enter the game" of IS that "wants to set children of the same family in opposition to each other".

:: History Of Deadly Attacks In France

French authorities are again trying to establish whether the Normandy attackers were part of a network after IS claimed its "soldiers" were responsible.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said Kermiche, 19, first came to the attention of anti-terror officials when a family member alerted them that he was missing in March 2015.

German officials arrested him and found he was using his brother's identity while trying to travel to Syria.

He was released under judicial supervision, but in May fled to Turkey where he was again arrested and returned to France. He was then held in custody until March this year.

A neighbour of Kermiche in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, who gave his name only as Redwan, said he had known who was responsible as soon as he heard about the attack.

An 86-year-old worshipper remains in hospital in a serious condition after suffering knife wounds during the hour-long siege.

He had been forced to record the killing of the priest before he was slashed by the attackers.